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Old 07-02-2006, 10:48 PM   #1
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1976 31' Excella 500
Groveport , Ohio
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A Shocking Experience

We inherited a 1976 31' Airstream. Everything is in excellent condition except...... We get an electrical shock, sometimes, when we touch the door or door frame. We have looked at the wires and don't see anything unsuaul but think that maybe something is not grounded properly. We have never been shocked inside the camper. Someone please help!
Thank you!
Dwvh2o
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Old 07-02-2006, 11:03 PM   #2
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1993 34' Limited
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Check your wiring to see if it is grounded at the electrical main circuit box.
Sometimes the ground wire might not even be hooked up!!!
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Old 07-03-2006, 01:27 AM   #3
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Hot Skin

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwvh2o
We inherited a 1976 31' Airstream. Everything is in excellent condition except...... We get an electrical shock, sometimes, when we touch the door or door frame. We have looked at the wires and don't see anything unsuaul but think that maybe something is not grounded properly. We have never been shocked inside the camper. Someone please help!
Thank you!
Dwvh2o
Sounds like you have a 'hot skin' condition. Simply, you have a short from a hot lead either 12VDC or 120VAC or both hitting the trailer frame or skin, causing the hot leg of the electrical supply to make the skin 'hot'. When you touch the trailer surface, you are then creating a circuit from the trailer to the ground you are standing on, with you in the middle. That is why you get shocked....you are part of the circuit!!!

To test this, place your meter or test light on the trailer exterior and the grounding side to a known ground outside the trailer. If it lights, you have a hot 12VDC skin. Repeat with a multi-meter on the AC volt scale and see if the meter registers 120 volts. This will allow you to track down the source of the voltage, then the fun begins in finding the short and correcting the problem.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:13 AM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
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1989 34' Excella
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You have two 120 volt breakers in your unit. Start the isolation by opening the breakers *(one at a time) and recheck the voltage on the skin. Then, take the front panel off the breaker box and checking the connections on the grounds and the nuetral wires. Next remove all the bulbs and do a reistance test of all the open hot wires to the trailer skin. This should get you down to which wires may have a leak to ground. Further Isolation can be done by lifting the hot wires at the box and checking resistance to ground (after the bulbs and appliances have been removed/unplugged).
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:15 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forums. You have received a very nice inheritance, one that will last for many years and fill those years with fum and pleasure. What a great way to remember the thoughtful loved one you you inherited the trailer from.
Now you need to get that nasty electrical nuisance fixed. Lew put you on the right track. If you do not own a volt meter as well as a needle tester now is the time to purchase them and learn their use. A good meter will cost you under $20.00 bucks and will give you amps, volts and resistance. A needle probe is under $10.00. Both these items live in my tool box and travel with us on each trip. Hopefully you will find the problem at a connection such as a light or electrical outlet, 120 or 12V. Does everything work? All lights turn on, power to all outlets, fans, refrigerator, clock, control panel. If something is not working that might be a good place to start looking. Remember that your trailer is built with two aluminum shells one on the inside and one on the outside, these are connected by aluminum ribs. You do not feel the shock inside because of the vinyl covering on the panels.
Good luck to you and keep asking if you can not find the source of this "current" leak. Let us know what you have done and maybe someone will come up with more suggestions.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:23 AM   #6
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I would also check the polarity of the power at the trailer with a tester as shown in the lower outlet below. I have these two testers in the trailer all the time. You never know what you might be getting when you attach to shore power.
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